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Beta Data: Live Trends from the 2015 Towards Maturity Benchmark


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DateJuly 10, 2015 Posted by: Laura Overton   Keywords: #BeTheBest15, learning analytics, Towards Maturity Benchmark

Stats last updated 22 October, 2015

The 2015 Towards Maturity Benchmark closed this summer after 600 L&D leaders from 55 countries used the review process to reflect on their current strategies and improve the performance of their L&D teams. The full findings were released on 5th November during a webinar in conjunction with the Learning and Skills Group - download the report here


Here were some early insights, which changed slightly as the study progressed:

High Expectations Continue to Exist, but L&D Making Little Progress

When it comes to implementing a modernised learning strategy, we still see very high expectations from L&D leaders with over 90% wanting:

  • More flexibility and access to learning
  • To improve induction processes
  • To improve application of learning back at work
  • To improve sharing of good practice
  • Improve effectiveness of face to face training

However, it seems that so far little progress has been made with no more than a third reporting they are achieving their objectives goals across the key drivers.

The Top Deck are Making an Impact on Learning

Intoduced in 2014, the top 10% (Top Deck) of those with a Towards Maturity Index (TMI) score are reporting the greatest organisational impact on learning. They continue to demonstrate that learning innovation done well delivers business impact.

  • 74% of the Top Deck say their ability to change procedures or products has improved (compared to 22% on average)
  • 94% of the Top Deck consider the course as only one option for building performance (52% average)

The full report will explore the lessons that L&D leaders can learn from the Top Deck organisations as they prepare for the future of learning. It will be released on 5th November during a webinar in conjunction with the Learning and skills Group – register your interest at the link below. The full report will be free to download thanks to Towards Maturity’s Ambassadors.

Register for the webinar at: http://tinyurl.com/TMB15-webinar

Using Technology and Listening to Learners

Just 30% of L&D professionals are proactive in in understanding how staff learn and understand what they need to do their job. But this is also met with a continued lack of budget spent on technologies that learners find useful. 19% of budget is spent on learning technologies, but still 55% of learning is delivered face to face. 

Technologies used by over 70% of L&D leaders who benchmarked in 2015:
  • 90% all e-learning content (93% in 2014)
  • 86% live online learning (86%)
  • 81% surveys and questionnaires (81%)
  • 79% learning Management Systems (78%)
  • 79% virtual meetings (77%)
  • 76% custom in-house e-learning (75%)
  • 74% job aids (66%)
  • 72% online assessment (74%)
  • 76% enterprise-wide information services (70%)
Learner data (from 1,600+ learners): The top ten learning methods, rated as essential or highly useful methods for staff to learn what they need for their job: 
  • 90% team collaboration
  • 87% conversations / meetings
  • 83% manager support
  • 73% web search
  • 62% internal company documents
  • 55% classroom courses
  • 54% internal networks / communities
  • 53% support from mentor / buddy
  • 53% mobile

Similar Challenges are Faced by L&D Teams Around the Globe

42% of this year's participants support learning in multinational organisations with staff spread around the globe. 61% are based in the UK, 10% in central Europe, 14% from APAC, 10% from the Americas and 5% from the Middle East, Africa and India.

Many of them share the same drivers and challenges:

  • 93% are looking to new models and technologies to provide a faster response to changing business conditions. This is a higher priority in the USA and Canada (98%) compared to Australia (88%).
  • 91% of L&D leaders are introducing learning into the workflow (versus an average of 80%), but this seems to be less of a priority for mainland European countries (73%).
  • 87% are looking to reducing training overall, but this is less of a priority for central European countries (77% average) and a bigger issue for L&D leaders in Middle East and India (93%). 

When it comes to barriers to change:

  • At first glance, over 50% of L&D leaders in Europe (mainland and UK) are challenged by the lack of skills in the L&D teams to embrace technology to its full advantage. In the USA and Canada, only 34% report lack of L&D skills are holding them back.
  • 7 out of 10 of L&D leaders from Ausralia report lack of management buy-in as a challenge compared to 4 in 10 of their peers in mainland Europe.
  • Middle East and Indian L&D leaders are twice as likely to report that their classroom training staff are reluctant to engage with technology as their US counterparts (40% vs 18%).

L&D Struggling with Alignment and Engagement

Benchmark participants will be provided their Alignment and Engagement Indices in their Personalised Benchmark Report, which will be sent in September.

Our ‘Beta Data’ (early findings) shows:

  • 62% still report reluctance from line managers as a barrier to change
  • 47% report reluctance by users
  • Only 38% agree that their initiatives support the skills that their business needs

We've just published updated versions of our popular In-Focus reports, Aligning Learning to Business and Ensuring Engagementoutlining practical steps for improving performance in both areas. 

Is 70:20:10 Taking Off in 2015?

It is clear that expectations are changing, but are the models we use to support those expectations lining up? The 70:20:10 framework is explored extensively in the Benchmark, but so far: 

  • 44% agree that approach is shaped by models that support learning directly in the flow of work (no significant change from last year)
  • 34% declare that we help people locate in-house experts when they need them 
  • Experiential Index
  • Social Index
  • Formal Index

We've announced three new performance indicators exploring the extent to which you are implementing effective practices of the 70:20:10 framework.

Skills Issue Continues as a Top Barrier to Change

In this initial sample from 2015, 3 in 5 say that lack of skills amongst employees to manage own learning and lack of skills amongst L&D two of the big barriers that prevent L&D from achieving their goals.

Fewer are leaving the building of critical L&D skills to chance this year – only 9% say that they don’t know how their team are keeping their skills up-to-date (compared to 20% last year).

However, only half are investing in continuing professional development for L&D team members – a number that so far hasn’t shifted from last year. 

Management Engagement Remains a Challenge

3 in 5 report reluctance by line managers to engage with learning as being a barrier to change.

Given the critical role that managers have to play in supporting the transfer of learning and performance at work, we’ll be exploring this further as the benchmark progresses. 

The Towards Maturity Benchmark provides two important indices to help address issue of stakeholder engagement. The Alignment Index and the Engagement Index.
So far, whilst we know that alignment is a top priority for L&D leaders, only 2 in 5 so far agree that their learning initiatives supports the skills the business needs which is down from last year. We'll keep a close eye on these trends over the next few weeks!

L&D Remain Shy of Big Data

At a time where L&D are faced with many challenges, it appears that we still remain shy of using data and evidence to inform our decisions. In 2015:

  • 16% using learning analytics to improve L&D service
  • 10% actively use benchmarking as a performance improvement tool

If you are still wondering if benchmarking your strategy is appropriate for you at your current stage of development, L&D experts Clive Shepherd and Nigel Paine provide some helpful food for thought in these interviews.

Don't forget: If you Benchmark, you'll be able to download a free resource pack we've curated to highlight how you can become a Top Learning Organisation.

What Next?

In 2014, we found that the top performing learning teams continued to report more benefits and fewer barriers than their peers. They didn’t always have the biggest budgets or the fanciest online tools but they were consistently doing certain things differently. The Towards Maturity Benchmark process provides you with the opportunity to reflect on what those top performers are doing and how you compare.

No wonder that 84% of those who have benchmarked this year have found new ideas to take their strategy forward. 

If you share some of the high expectations and frustrations of your peers, then we invite you to use the Towards Maturity Benchmark to help stimulate fresh ideas and get you out of a rut!

Use our proven Benchmark to stimulate new thinking in your organisation and compare your strategy against top performers:


Also do complete our minipoll.

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